Although I’m a fan of “The Walking Dead,” I haven’t been drawn to the many books embracing the zombie fad. I’m not sure why, except I always imagined zombie stories being a little too much action and gore for me — not to mention death. But I’m coming off my first zombie read, and I have to say, I enjoyed it.
“Mortality” by Kellie Sheridan is a zombie story with a twist. As with many zombie tales, the zombies are created by a virus. In “Mortality,” however, the government comes up with a vaccine that doesn’t go quite as planned. As a result, they’ve got super zombies — people who become zombies without actually dying or decaying. This makes them stronger, faster and smarter than the average Z.
“Mortality” is available on Amazon for $3.99.
While this is a zombie tale, Sheridan still makes it a story about people and love. She alternates points of view between Savannah — who gets the post page time — and Zarah.
Savannah is living with a community of survivors holed up in a school and eager to do more for the world. When she meets Cole, a boy with an intriguing secret, she’ll have to choose whether to stay by her friends or strike out on her own to make a bigger impact on the world.
Zarah’s story starts earlier than Savannah’s, and gives the reader more insight into the days when the outbreak first occurs and what it was like to live through it. Through Zarah’s eyes, you’ll see a different side to the zombie story.
Sheridan does a great job of setting the pace and keeping the reader engaged with the characters. You’ll come to care about all of them — even those who get a little less page time — and you’ll find this story provides you an insight into zombies that other books/TV shows fail to explore.
“Mortality” is the first in the Hitchhiker Strain series, and I am looking forward to the next installment, to see how society and medicine will evolve to cope with this dangerous environment.
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“Outcast” is an inventive story told in the fresh voice of 16-year-old Riley Carver, who admittedly has a strange sense of humor and is sometimes a little too honest.
I had no idea what to expect from this novel, outside of the blurb that came with it and the idea that it was about angels. To be honest, books about angels are not really my favorite. I can appreciate a twist on the angel — like the Shadowhunters of Cassandra Clare’s books — but I have not been such a fan of books that are more directly tied to celestial beings.
“Outcast” intrigued me from word one, however. Part of it was the originality of the premise.
In Riley Carver’s town, angels have been coming out of the sky one day a year for six years to take people. After losing her best friend — almost boyfriend Chris — she’s had just about enough. The following year, when one comes after her in her backyard, she shoots it. In the face.
Only, it’s not dead. It transforms into a boy (a hot one, of course), and he doesn’t remember anything about his previous angel status. In fact, he thinks it’s 1956.
Set in a small town, with a “Church of the Angels” and a pastor who is getting a little too power-hungry, “Outcast” is many things. It’s a story of love. It’s a coming-of-age tale. It’s a suspense; a mystery; a fantasy; an adventure.
While the conclusion to “Outcast” isn’t totally surprising, the book weaves in just enough clues along the way to keep you guessing about the exact nature of these so-called angels and why they’re targeting the town.
The book will be released June 4. Click here for details on how to buy it.
One night a while back, I had insomnia. After tossing and turning, I figured it would be a good time to take out my advance copy of “Insomnia” and give it a whirl. I’m happy to report the book did not put me to sleep. Once I got started on “Insomnia,” I could not put it down and I stayed up all night to finish it.
“Insomnia,” the first in a new series called “Nightwalkers,” gives the first-person account of Parker Chipp. Parker hasn’t properly slept in four years; instead, he drops into other people’s dreams, overwhelmed by their emotional responses and never able to get any rest or any peace. His dreamer is always the last person he’s made eye contact with that day. When he runs into Mia, a girl who has a different sort of dream — a peaceful dream, a dream in which he can sleep himself — he’ll do just about anything to make contact with her again and again. When Mia is threatened by a true stalker, Parker is the obvious suspect, and he’s not even 100 percent sure himself that he’s not turning into something dangerous.
“Insomnia” is well-paced and suspenseful, keeping me intrigued up until the end. J.R. Johansson impressed me with her ability to fully create this dream world in which Parker spends much of his time. Her descriptions flowed seamlessly and made this fantasy seem entirely real. The story is refreshingly different from other YA reads. I always enjoy a book from a boy’s perspective to change it up, and in this case, a protagonist who is also suspect was an interesting twist.
I expect the next installment in the series will only be more interesting as Parker learns more about his ability and how it might change his world. “Insomnia” will be released June 4.
“Grasping at Eternity” is an engaging, romantic read that will introduce you to a world of soul mates, everlasting family and bonds that stretch over many lifetimes.
The first in the “Kindrily” series, this novel is the story of Maryah, a kindrily who has lived many lifetimes with her soul mate, Nathan, at her side. Yet, for some unknown reason she did the unthinkable at the end of her last life cycle and erased all her memories. Now, she has no knowledge of Nathaniel, her extended family of Kindrily or her own powers. That doesn’t prevent her from being at risk; there are enemies to the Kindrily seeking her out. After her human family is killed, she is sent to her “godmother,” who is actually a member of her Kindrily.
There, the novel introduces us to a number of charming characters, all of whom love Maryah dearly, but some of whom are hurt by her erasure. Why did she abandon them for a new life? And can she ever find her way back to her identity, or is she gone for good? No one is more tortured by this than her soul mate, Nathan, who spends him time alternately avoiding her and showing up unexpectedly.
This fresh take on reincarnation introduces a variety of immortal life that puts emphasis on family, love and loyalty above all else. It’s nice to imagine a world in which you get to live life with your loved ones by your side again and again.
“Grasping for Eternity” is available on Kindle for $2.99. Get it here. The sequel is expected out later this month.
“Found,” the first in the Penny Black series, is a well-written, perfectly paced romantic fantasy set in a futuristic world that includes people with some very special talents, like rewinding time, catching glimpses of the future and communicating with spirits.
From the first page, the action grips you and the writing is extremely well-executed. The blend of action, inner turmoil and dialogue with the characters puts the reader in the scenes effortlessly.
The book features two primary characters: Penny Black, a girl who doesn’t realize her powers and has been on the run for years after plenty of bad foster homes. At 17, she is finally found by the New Society and delivered to a school to learn more about her powers and how to control them. The second protag, Wyatt Adams, is assigned to be her look-out and is looking to prove his worth as the baby of a large family of Retroacts (like Penny) and look-outs. As the regular guy with no special powers, he often feels left out. The fact that he’s never had a girlfriend at age 18 doesn’t help, either.
It may be called the Penny Black series - and Penny was okay — but it was Wyatt who made this book shine, and I sincerely hope he’s a character that continues throughout the series. His voice came through loud and strong from his opening scene. I felt like the author may have held back just a smidge on Penny. Either she’s a character that suppresses her inner turmoil, or the writer also identified more strongly with Wyatt. Penny was intriguing enough to keep the plot moving, but I’m not sure how much I cared about her outside of how Wyatt viewed her.
I loved every page of this book. It has action, suspense, romance and great dialogue. But I will warn you: It also has a terrible cliffhanger that will leave you screaming for the next installment RIGHT NOW. And, of course, it’s not available yet. So be prepared.
“Gameboard of the Gods” was well written. The plot came together. The premise was intriguing.
It’s possible, dear reader, that you will love it.
But, for me, the book gets a solid “meh.”
Richelle Mead is a best-selling YA author whose “Vampire Academy” series has many fans. So, I had fairly high expectations for “Gameboard of the Gods,” her New Adult series launching in June, even though I’d never read anything by her before.
The characters were too slick: beautiful, polished, narcissistic at times. The male protagonist came across as a chauvinist who believed all women wanted him — and in the book all women did want him, which felt unrealistic. The theme that tied sex into the central plotline and essentially served up the female protag as some sort of sexual reward was distasteful.
“Gameboard of the Gods” is set in a futuristic world that was nearly destroyed by religious extremists. The Republic of United North America (RUNA) now strictly regulates religious groups.
Justin March is living in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims, but he gets a second chance when supersoldier Mae Koskinen comes to spring him back to help with a puzzling new case involving a string of murders and an “invisible” assailant they believe is tied to a religious cult.
Meanwhile, Justin is fighting his own internal battle against the voices in his head — representatives of the god who wants to claim him as a pawn. After making a deal with a god in a dream to save his life, Justin — being the slick character he is — found a loophole and has been doing his best to best the god at his own game. Mia also appears to be tapped for a special role by the gods.
As the story evolves, it becomes clear that the gods are moving to reclaim a world in which humans will be their game pieces.
This new world Richelle Mead created intrigued me, and I was interested to see how the story would evolve — particularly the role of the gods, which is really just getting started. Yet, I could not get past all the sexual themes — and the way they were intertwined into the central plotline. I was a little surprised a woman wrote this book, because it felt chauvinistic and unrealistic in that regard. Justin did evolve over the course of the book as he began to care more for Mae — but even then, it seemed a lot of his regard for her was superficial in nature.
As a result, “Gameboard of the Gods” gets a firm “meh” from this reviewer.
Husband: What do you have planned today?
Me: I dunno. I guess I’ll do some work.
Husband: No reading!
Me: *Hangs head*
Me: *writes book review*